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Indian Case Summary

S. Nagarajan vs Vasantha Kumar And Anr. on 26 November, 1987 – Case Summary

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In the case of S. Nagarajan vs Vasantha Kumar And Anr. on 26 November, 1987, the Kerala High Court was faced with an appeal against an acquittal order passed by the Court of Additional Judicial Magistrate of I Class, Trivandrum. The complaint was filed by the Assistant Collector of Central Excise, Trivandrum, alleging that both respondents, Vasantha Kumar and another, had committed offences punishable under Section 135(1) of the Customs Act, 1962.

Facts of the Case

The respondents, a husband and wife, were operating two shops named “Ulloor Enterprises” and “Sandya Textiles” in Trivandrum. They resided in a building near their shops. Based on information that goods of foreign origin were being sold in the shops and stored in their residence, officers of the Customs Preventive and Intelligence Unit conducted a search. This resulted in the seizure of 10 items of foreign origin from the shop and 22 items from their residence. The total value of the seized goods was Rs. 27,347/-. After adjudication under the Customs Act, 1962, the goods were confiscated to the Government.

Issues and Court Observations

The main issue before the court was whether the notifications referred to in the case could be taken judicial notice of by the court. The notifications in question were issued under Section 11B and Section 123(2) of the Customs Act. The learned Magistrate had based his decision of acquittal on the non-production of these notifications or copies thereof.

The court examined whether these notifications could be considered “laws in force” within the meaning of Section 57(1) of the Evidence Act. After reviewing several precedents, the court concluded that the notifications were legislative in character, having been issued in exercise of delegated powers. As such, they qualified as “laws” within the meaning of Section 57 of the Evidence Act, and the court was bound to take judicial notice of them.

Ruling

The court held that the learned Magistrate was in error in holding that the prosecution must fail due to the non-production of the notifications. The court should have looked into the gazette or other document to ascertain whether or not the alleged notifications had been issued. The court concluded that the notifications in question were laws within the meaning of Section 57 of the Evidence Act and the court was bound to take judicial notice of these notifications.

This case serves as a significant precedent in understanding the nature of notifications issued under delegated powers and their status as “laws” within the meaning of the Evidence Act. It also highlights the duty of the court to take judicial notice of such laws.